An Op-Ed by Senator David G. Argall
School property tax elimination is by far the #1 issue that I hear about most from residents not only in Berks and Schuylkill Counties, but across Pennsylvania.
To say that the school property tax is antiquated would be a severe understatement. This burdensome tax, which dates back to the 1830s, is not only crippling the American dream of home ownership for current homeowners but for future ones as well.
Countless Pennsylvanians have voiced their personal stories to me regarding the negative impact the school property tax has had on their lives. Some residents have told me they are months away from losing their homes, others are considering moving to one of our neighboring states where school property taxes are significantly lower, and some have shared that their mortgages are actually cheaper than their school property tax bill each year, therefore welcoming a tax shift with open arms.
Their message is clear to me: they want the school property tax to be completely eliminated as suggested by Senate Bill 76 – not reduced, not reformed – eliminated.
While I continue to work alongside the 19 other co-sponsors of Senate Bill 76 and the 80+ grassroots advocacy groups who have led the charge on this initiative to remove Pennsylvania homeowners from the crushing burden that is our current school property tax system, Pennsylvania’s voters will have the opportunity to help us move toward achieving this long overdue goal when they enter the polls on Tuesday.
On November 7, Pennsylvania voters will be asked to consider a proposed constitutional amendment to permit the General Assembly to enact legislation to expand the homestead exclusion.
Currently, the state Constitution only allows up to 50 percent of the median assessed value of homestead property within the taxing district. If the amendment is approved by the voters, the General Assembly will finally have the ability to pass legislation expanding the exemption up to 100 percent.
I wholeheartedly believe that when this constitutional amendment passes, it will help us to obtain the necessary votes we need to pass Senate Bill 76 once and for all. That is why I am encouraging a “yes” vote on Tuesday.
Contact: Sakura Ung